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The ages of consent for sexual activity vary by jurisdiction across South America.
The specific activity engaged in or the gender of its participants can also be affected by the law.
Other variables, for example close-in-age exemptions, may exist and are noted when relevant.
In South America, the only country where male same-sex sexual conduct is illegal is Guyana, and the only countries with a higher age of consent for same-sex sexual relations than opposite-sex ones are Chile and Paraguay.
Below is a discussion of the various laws dealing with this subject.
The highlighted age refers to an age at or above which an individual can engage in unfettered sexual relations with another who is also at or above that age.
This figure establishes some limitations to sexual contacts with children older than 14 and younger than 18 years old.
The estupro legislation (Article 363) defines four situations in which sex with such children can be declared illegal even if the minor consented to the relationship (non-consensual sex with anyone older than 14 y.o.
In South America, many countries have different levels of protection or of restriction for sexual activities with minors.
falls under the rape legislation, Article 361; while any sexual contact with anyone under 14 y.o.
falls under the statutory rape legislation, Article 362.): The sexual acts regulated by Articles 361 (rape), 362 (statutory rape), 363 (estupro), and 365 (homosexual sex) are defined as "carnal access" (acceso carnal), which means either oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse.
Limitations exist between 14 and 18 years old (Art. Even when not clearly stated in Article 362, later on, in Article 365, homosexual activity is declared illegal with anyone under 18 years old. Translation: Whoever has carnal access, by vaginal, anal, or oral route, to a person under fourteen years, shall be punished by imprisonment of any degree, if circumstances listed in the previous article are not also present.
There also exists in the Chilean Penal Code, a legal figure called estupro.
The Brazilian Imperial Code, in its Article 219, added by Notice 512 of 1862, established the age of 17 for the legal presumption of violence in sexual relations.